MS Imaging Lab

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Imaging Laboratory

The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Imaging Laboratory in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, led by Eric Klawiter, MD, Msc, is focused on developing new imaging techniques to better understand, diagnose and treat multiple sclerosis.


brain scan


The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Imaging Lab, directed by Eric Klawiter, MD, MSc, focuses on MS clinical research as well as the application and development of new imaging methods to better understand, diagnose and treat MS.

Through the use of novel imaging techniques, we examine changes in structural and functional brain networks in MS in relation to clinical outcomes such as cognition. The overall goal is to integrate novel imaging techniques into therapeutic clinical trials, which our lab is also involved with.

The goals of our research are to:

  • Understand the pathology that gives rise to symptoms and cognitive impairment associated with MS
  • Develop biomarkers for early diagnosis of MS
  • Develop more effective treatments for MS

Our current imaging dataset consists of data from the 3T Connectom scanner and an ultra-high field 7T scanner on patients with MS including:

  • Longitudinal structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Longitudinal resting state functional MRI
  • Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
  • Advanced diffusion imaging (i.e. Q-ball and axon diameter modeling)
  • Neurocognitive testing
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Clinical data

We also plan, implement and write customized code to streamline data processing and analysis.

Group Members

Eric Klawiter, MD


Eric Klawiter, MD, MSc
See Dr. Klawiter's profile


Kevin Patel, MD

Research Staff

John Daniel Bireley, BA
Victoria Smith, BS
Sean Tobyne, MS


Lance Shaull
Kelly Wong, BA


Daria Boraytn, BS
Jessica Johnson, BA
Amanda Johnson, BA
Lance Shaull, BA

Research Projects

Multi-modal Neuroimaging

The MS Imaging Laboratory is involved in various neuroimaging studies that implement established and novel techniques to examine structural and functional connectivity in relationship to cognitive dysfunction in MS.

Spinal Cord Imaging

We are exploring novel spinal cord imaging techniques in MS and related diseases like neuromyelitis optica (NMO).


1. Klawiter EC, Ceccarelli A, Arora A, Jackson J, Bakshi S, Kim G, Miller J, Tauhid S, von Gizycki C, Bakshi R, Neema M. Corpus Callosum Atrophy Correlates with Gray Matter Atrophy in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis. J Neuroimaging. 2014 May 9. doi: 10.1111/jon.12124. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24816394.

2. Klawiter EC. Current and new directions in MRI in multiple sclerosis. Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2013 Aug;19(4 Multiple Sclerosis):1058-73. doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000433283.00221.37. Review. PubMed PMID: 23917101.

3: Naismith RT, Xu J, Klawiter EC, Lancia S, Tutlam NT, Wagner JM, Qian P, Trinkaus K, Song SK, Cross AH. Spinal cord tract diffusion tensor imaging reveals disability substrate in demyelinating diseases. Neurology. 2013 Jun 11;80(24):2201-9. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318296e8f1. Epub 2013 May 10. PubMed PMID: 23667060; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3721096.

4. Alvarez E, Piccio L, Mikesell RJ, Klawiter EC, Parks BJ, Naismith RT, Cross AH. CXCL13 is a biomarker of inflammation in multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, and other neurological conditions. Mult Scler. 2013 Aug;19(9):1204-8. doi: 10.1177/1352458512473362. Epub 2013 Jan 15. PubMed PMID: 23322500; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3959125.

5. Xu J, Shimony JS, Klawiter EC, Snyder AZ, Trinkaus K, Naismith RT, Benzinger TL, Cross AH, Song SK. Improved in vivo diffusion tensor imaging of human cervical spinal cord. Neuroimage. 2013 Feb 15;67:64-76. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.11.014. Epub 2012 Nov 21. PubMed PMID: 23178538; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3604900.

6. Qian P, Lancia S, Alvarez E, Klawiter EC, Cross AH, Naismith RT. Association of neuromyelitis optica with severe and intractable pain. Arch Neurol. 2012 Nov;69(11):1482-7. PubMed PMID: 22926050; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3561507.

7. Klawiter EC, Xu J, Naismith RT, Benzinger TL, Shimony JS, Lancia S, Snyder AZ, Trinkaus K, Song SK, Cross AH. Increased radial diffusivity in spinal cord lesions in neuromyelitis optica compared with multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2012 Sep;18(9):1259-68. doi: 10.1177/1352458512436593. Epub 2012 Feb 21. PubMed PMID: 22354742; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3360125.

8. Virmani T, Agarwal A, Klawiter EC. Clinical reasoning: A young adult presents with focal weakness and hemorrhagic brain lesions. Neurology. 2011 May 31;76(22):e106-9. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31821d748a. PubMed PMID: 21624981; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3115808.

9. Klawiter EC, Schmidt RE, Trinkaus K, Liang HF, Budde MD, Naismith RT, Song SK,Cross AH, Benzinger TL. Radial diffusivity predicts demyelination in ex vivo multiple sclerosis spinal cords. Neuroimage. 2011 Apr 15;55(4):1454-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.01.007. Epub 2011 Jan 13. PubMed PMID: 21238597; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3062747.

10. Klawiter EC, Benzinger T, Roy A, Naismith RT, Parks BJ, Cross AH. Spinal cord ring enhancement in multiple sclerosis. Arch Neurol. 2010 Nov;67(11):1395-8. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2010.271. PubMed PMID: 21060017; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3057685.

11. Klawiter EC, Piccio L, Lyons JA, Mikesell R, O'Connor KC, Cross AH. Elevated intrathecal myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibodies in multiple sclerosis. Arch Neurol. 2010 Sep;67(9):1102-8. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2010.197. PubMed PMID: 20837855; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3051403.

12. Klawiter EC, Cross AH, Naismith RT. The present efficacy of multiple sclerosis therapeutics: Is the new 66% just the old 33%? Neurology. 2009 Sep 22;73(12):984-90. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181b9c8f7. PubMed PMID: 19770475; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2754334.

13. Naismith RT, Tutlam NT, Xu J, Shepherd JB, Klawiter EC, Song SK, Cross AH. Optical coherence tomography is less sensitive than visual evoked potentials in optic neuritis. Neurology. 2009 Jul 7;73(1):46-52. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181aaea32. PubMed PMID: 19564583; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2707110.

14. Klawiter EC, Alvarez E 3rd, Xu J, Paciorkowski AR, Zhu L, Parks BJ, Cross AH, Naismith RT. NMO-IgG detected in CSF in seronegative neuromyelitis optica. Neurology. 2009 Mar 24;72(12):1101-3. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000345066.57745.50. PubMed PMID: 19307546; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2677472.

15. Naismith RT, Tutlam NT, Xu J, Klawiter EC, Shepherd J, Trinkaus K, Song SK, Cross AH. Optical coherence tomography differs in neuromyelitis optica compared with multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2009 Mar 24;72(12):1077-82. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000345042.53843.d5. PubMed PMID: 19307541; PubMed Central PMCID:  PMC2677471.


Contact Us

MS Imaging Laboratory -- Eric Klawiter, MD, MSc

Charlestown Navy Yard

149 13th Street Charlestown, MA 02129
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 617-726-7531

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